Korean verbs and adjectives are made of stems and endings. The stems of verbs and adjectives can not be used alone, and they are always conjugated by various or inflectional endings. These endings carry various grammatical information and roles such as tense, aspect, speech levels, and so forth.
When you look for the meaning of certain verbs and/or adjectives in your textbook word lists or dictionary, you are most likely to encounter verbs and adjectives with 다 as their endings. Remember that stems can not be used alone. For a dictionary-entry purpose, Korean verbs and adjectives take a special dictionary form ending -다. Consequently, finding the stem of a verb and/or an adjective is simple in that anything being left out after you take 다 out from the verbs and adjectives is the stem. Here are some examples:
Verbs And Adjectives
In English, one can distinguish a verb from an adjective by looking at their structure. For example, when using an adjective as a predicate, one has to use one of “am”, “is”, and “are”. In Korean, however verbs and adjectives resemble one another in how they inflect and how they function in the sentence. In addition, there is no obvious structural difference between verbs and adjectives. In fact adjectives behave like verbs so much that Korean grammarians categorize adjectives as “descriptive verbs”.
For example, in a dictionary, you may find the following Korean verb and adjective: 보다(see) and 어렵다(difficult). They have different stems but the same ending. Their meanings distinguish a verb from an adjective. Verbs normally signify actions and processes. On the other hand, adjectives typically indicate states or qualities such as size, weight, quality, quantity, shape, appearance, perception, and emotion.
Vowel- and consonant-based stems
Stems of Korean verbs and adjectives are grouped into two types: consonant based and vowel based. An example of the vowel-based stem is 가 of 가다, whereas that of the consonant-based stem is 먹 of 먹다.
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Irregular verbs and adjectives (불규칙동사와 형용사)
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